Chrysler Pacifica — Bringing electricity to the minivan

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(November 20, 2022) The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan is impressive on first drive, and we can vouch for its ability to flawlessly undertake a 3,400-mile, 16-day cross-country trip. We reached that conclusion after a successful four-person road trip to eight National Parks and a myriad of other sites in the western United States a few years ago.

The 2018 trip occurred when the minivan was only in its second year of production, but we feel we would reach the same conclusion today with the newest Pacifica, which has undergone a facelift and numerous technology updates through the years. The SUV crossover — in several sizes and shapes — is the "must have" vehicle for today's family, but there is simply no substitute for the minivan's ability to haul several people and all their cargo flawlessly — and with vastly improved gas mileage compared to year's ago.

During our extensive trip, Pacifica offered up 32.5 miles per gallon — up to that point unheard of in a full-sized minivan — a huge cargo area measuring 87.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, impressive interior solitude even hurtling down South Dakota and Wyoming interstates at the posted 80 mph speed limit, and comfortable seating front and rear with scads of legroom for our second-row passengers.

While the overall look remains the same — it's very stylish — change has come. In 2020, its fourth year, the Pacifica gained an all-wheel-drive option. For 2021, the Pacifica earned updated interior and exterior styling. A new infotainment system was rolled out and the list of standard driver-assist safety features expanded. For 2022, the Pacifica gains a new in-cabin air-filtration system and an optional Amazon Fire TV feature that allows passengers to connect streaming services to watch movies and TV shows through the optional rear-seat entertainment system.

The Pacifica continues to feature two powertrain options including the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 287 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. The Pacifica Hybrid powertrain, which makes 260 horsepower from its V-6 engine and two electric motors, achieves up to 33 miles of all electric range, 84 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent electric) and greater than 500 miles of total driving range. (Our best effort in all-electric driving was 28 miles before the gas engine kicked on).

The hybrid vehicle we drove for a week featured an FCA-designed, innovative dual-motor eFlite electrically variable transmission (EVT) paired with a specially modified version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine. The Pacifica Hybrid is designed to offer a seamless driving experience, with no need for the driver to select between electric and hybrid modes.

Performance for both versions is adequate to good. There is no drama involved in quickly getting to highway speed from an on-ramp or in passing slow-movers on a two-lane road. What you won't get from the Pacifica is a road-carver, its softly sprung suspension perfect for soaking up road imperfections, but not so good at taking back-road curves much above the posted limits. But this is a first-class people hauler, not a street fighter. For comparison, Car and Driver says 0-to-60 for the gas-only engine is 7.3 seconds and for the plug-in hybrid about 7.9 seconds. The gas engine version can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Inside  the Pacifica, you will find a graceful, sophisticated cockpit that includes high quality materials, a luxurious sculpted dash, and control center tipped horizontally and canted toward the driver. The interior has been given a more open feel than the previous Chrysler Town and Country eliminating the standard transmission shifter with a dial-controlled device. Initial impression might be that this is more a luxury crossover than the typical family hauler.

There are a myriad of storage bins, pockets, cupholders, cubbies — and a large center console bin that will easily swallow up a woman's purse. One of Chrysler's biggest bragging points are the unique Stow 'n Go seats that fold into the floor creating a flat loading surface. The unique seats are missing from the hybrid model, however, to make room for the battery pack.

Impressive are the power sliding doors and power liftgate that includes hands-free operation. The doors and the liftgate open up to 32.2 cubic feet of luggage space behind the third-row seats,  and 140.5 cubic feet with all seats folded. That's about standard for the segment.

There’s ample head, leg and shoulder room in the first two rows of seating. Even the third row, while best left to the kids, isn’t a penalty box for adults if the trip isn’t a long-range trek.

Pacifica’s infotainment is handled by Chrysler’s industry-leading Uconnect 5 infotainment system with a standard 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth, a USB port, Uconnect Access that lets you remotely track, lock, or start your Pacifica via your Smartphone, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, support for Amazon Alexa, and support for over-the-air-updates. The system can connect to two devices at the same time and supports up to five driver profiles with custom settings for those driver's specific preferences.

In the safety department, Chrysler says its minivan comes with 97 standard safety features and 116 overall. The Pacifica is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Pacifica gas engine version comes in four trims — Touring, Touring L, Limited and Pinnacle. The hybrid minivan comes in Touring L, Limited and Pinnacle trims starting at $50,595 including destination charge. The Hybrid Limited starts at $55,595, and the Hybrid Pinnacle at $59,776. For people who like the Pacifica, but the Hybrid price tag is a bridge too far, the gas engine version starts at around a more affordable $38,500.

Our Pacifica Hybrid came in Limited trim with the S Appearance Package that includes piano black accent steering wheel and leather-trimmed seats with light diesel gray stitching adding $995 to the bottom line of $56,990.

2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid


Base price: $50,595; as driven, $56,990
Engine: 3.6-liter V6, 2 electric motors
Horsepower: 260
Transmission: continuous variable (CVT)
Drive: front wheel
Seating: 2/2/3
Wheelbase: 121.6 inches
Length: 204.3 inches
Curb weight: 5,010 pounds
Turning circle: 39.7 feet
Luggage capacity: 32.2 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 140.5 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 16.5 gallons (regular)
Electric range: 32 miles
EPA rating: 82 MPGe, 29 city, 30 highway, 30 combined
0-60: 7.9 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Toyota Sienna Hybrid, Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival

The Good
• 32 miles of gas-free driving
• Upscale interior
• Rear seats fold into floor
• Attractive exterior design

The Bad
• AWD not available on hybrid

The Ugly
• Hybrid comes with high purchase price